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Campus Showcases Versatile AV

The new Kenyon College Athletic Center shimmers in glass and steel, providing a new focal point to the college's 1,000-acre campus in Gambier, OH. Impressive as the Athletic Center is from the outside, it's equally remarkable within, not only for the quality of its facilities, but also for the flexibility and quality of its building-wide audio and video systems.

CHALLENGE: Create an easy-to-use system to meet the AV needs of dozens of separate meeting and event venues spread throughout a vastnew building.

SOLUTION: Design distinct AV systems for different areas, with the capability to be linked together in any combination through an IP-based control system.

The new Kenyon College Athletic Center shimmers in glass and steel, providing a new focal point to the college's 1,000-acre campus in Gambier, OH.

It's an architecturally striking addition to the distinguished liberal arts college, which boasts a variety of athletic distinctions to go with its outstanding reputation for fine arts, humanities, and natural and social sciences. Impressive as the Athletic Center is from the outside, it's equally remarkable within, not only for the quality of its facilities, but also for the flexibility and quality of its building-wide audio and video systems.

The swim center is the only area of the Kenyon College Athletic Center complex that features video capture and broadcast capability. A pair of Panasonic AW-E350 PTZ cameras routed through a Leitch VDA-16 distribution amplifier deliver a live closed-circuit picture to various campus locations, including “wet” conference rooms in which swimmers can observe and analyze their performances. These conference rooms are equipped with LG MU60PZ95V 60-inch plasma displays with matching speakers, along with JVC VCR units and Philips DVD-CD players.

The swim center is the only area of the Kenyon College Athletic Center complex that features video capture and broadcast capability. A pair of Panasonic AW-E350 PTZ cameras routed through a Leitch VDA-16 distribution amplifier deliver a live closed-circuit picture to various campus locations, including “wet” conference rooms in which swimmers can observe and analyze their performances. These conference rooms are equipped with LG MU60PZ95V 60-inch plasma displays with matching speakers, along with JVC VCR units and Philips DVD-CD players.

Meeting the demand for versatility — allowing any portion of the building to be controlled independently and combined with any other area in any configuration desired — was the main challenge the project presented its AV integrator, SoundCom of Berea, OH.

The 263,000-square-foot building houses a wide variety of spaces with different audio and video requirements. Among the facilities inside the space is a 10,000-square-foot multi-activity court, a 200-meter, six-lane indoor track, a 1,500-seat arena for basketball and volleyball, a swim center with a 50-meter pool, four regulation tennis courts, eight squash and four racquetball courts, and a 12,500-square-foot weight and fitness room. The building also contains a 120-seat movie theater, along with a variety of conference rooms and other facilities.

Nearly all of these spaces have audio, and one also includes video capture and display capabilities. Although some spaces were designed for specific functions, many are multipurpose areas whose audio requirements vary from event to event. With so many different spaces, users, and functions, it was critical to craft systems that would meet the client's need for maximum flexibility and ease of use.

“The building itself is nothing short of massive, but the design of the audio and video systems was actually fairly straightforward,” says Brad Kestner, operations manager at SoundCom.

The center was designed by the Gund Partnership architectural firm in Cambridge, MA, and Cambridge-based Acentech Inc. served as the AV consultant on the project.

The original specifications called for an AMX control system, and most decisions concerning the exact functionalities for the different areas were worked out between the client and SoundCom. “We went direct to the owner, met with them via the construction manager, and showed them examples of end-user interface options,” Kestner explains. “The owners were a bit undecided on certain factors early on, and it became a bit of a moving target.”



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